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1,200-Year-Old Children’s Hand Prints Found in Mexican Cave

Monday, May 3, 2021

MERIDA, MEXICO—Reuters reports that 137 handprints have been found on the walls of a subterranean cave on the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The artworks have been dated to between A.D. 800 and 1000, during a time of severe drought. Many of the red and black prints belong to children who were entering puberty, based upon their size, and may be connected to a Maya coming-of-age ritual, according to archaeologist Sergio Grosjean. “They imprinted their hands on the walls in black…which symbolized death, but that didn’t mean they were going to be killed, but rather death from a ritual perspective,” he said. “Afterwards, these children imprinted their hands in red, which was a reference to war or life.” Grosjean and his colleagues also found a carved face and six painted relief sculptures in the cave. To read about Maya clothing, go to "From Head to Toe in the Ancient Maya World."

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